We just did a couple of posts about priests' children and also about Fr. Peter McDonough's decision to leave the priesthood to be a father to his child. Now thanks to Ella and James Preece's Catholic and Loving it! blog, we have Fr. Peter's own words about his decision. Ella is a member of the Catholic Deaf Association and received Fr. Peter's e-mail:
I am very sorry I have very sad news to share with you concerning myself. I am retiring from Salford diocese. It has been a long and difficult journey for me in the last few years. Over four years ago I informed the bishop that I have a son. He was very understanding and supportive and said that I could continue in the priesthood as long as I remained a celibate. The mother of my son, [mother's name removed], has given me full support in this. However, [child's name removed] is growing fast and is continually asking questions, which has made things very difficult for us. I also need to think of his needs and rights. I have been attending a course of therapy, spiritual direction as well as a lot of discussions, discernments and prayers and I have reached a decision where I feel it is right for me to become proactive and become a full time father to [child's name removed] and to protect the good name of the Church. This morning I celebrated Mass with the Deaf community for the last time and I have informed them of my situation. I am sorry to have broken news to you like this, I would have preferred to share the news with you personally but it is not possible. Fr Frank Parkinson has kindly agreed the bishop’s invitation to replace me. However, although I will be leaving the priesthood, I will continue to offer my support to the CDA and I will be involved in all things relating to the CDA as long as the Council will accept me in my role as secretary. Work and preparations for the CDA Conference 2009 is progressing well and I will still be involved.
I ask your patience, understanding and prayer,